Spin Sucks

Spin Sucks - four topics every business owner needs to understand

Karen shared our #wwcbookclub book for April earlier this week and I’m writing about the same book again because there’s just that much to talk about with this book. Plus, we’re so excited for our friend Gini’s book launch! :)

In 2000 I started the Public Relations program at Algonquin College. I was freshly home from Korea, where I’d gone to spend almost a year teaching English after graduating with a BA in Psychology I wasn’t sure what to do with. 

I clearly remember one of the very first things the program coordinator said to us on the day I started this program.

“Public relations is not about being a spin doctor, but that’s what people think it is.”

It’s stuck with me for almost 14 years now because it’s true, people do think that people who work in PR are just “spinning” a story, but that’s really not what well-done PR is about.  Which is why I love reading Gini Dietrich’s blog and her books – she talks about and teaches PR the way it needs to be done so that people can understand it.

 Her lastest book, Spin Sucks, just launched and I was thrilled to get my hands on it early.  Now that I’ve read it (from cover to cover – rare for me!) here are my four reasons I think you should read this book, whether you’re a PR professional or not (though if you ARE a PR professional or student, you should just get it no matter what!)  Ok, they aren’t reasons exactly, they are topics I think all business owners need to understand: 

1)  What’s your media?

Owned, paid, shared, earned, what is the difference and which ones do you need?  Things have changed and you need to understand what kind of content you can have, what you currently do have, and what you want to have.  And while you’re at understanding all of these, what are the right and wrong ways to try to get each kind.

2)   Crisis communications 

I’m a big believer in being prepared and the book helps you know what to do when something bad happens to you or your business, whether it be a big incident or a small one.  No matter how much we’d like to protect ourselves from people saying things about us online we don’t want them to, we unfortunately don’t have the power.  There are some really solid suggestions on how to do deal with that in the book.  I’ll give you a hint on the most important part – don’t try to hide things.

3)   Storytelling 

People love a good story, and your story is the most interesting one of all when it comes to your business.  The book has some really great examples that showcase the importance of storytelling and points you to some of your favourite novels for inspiration.

4)   Google and Search Engine Optimization 

Gini covers the topic in a way that gives you ideas on what to do or not do to help your rankings in search. While I would love to keep writing 300 word posts, I now know that I really should be keeping the posts between 500-800 words or so, and I’ve been putting in a lot of effort to make that happen (and totally nailed it on this post! :).  Understanding how Google ranks your web site is so important and this book really taught me a lot and have brought a lot of things back top of mind for me. 

So there you have it, a bit of a taste for what I think you can learn from this book.  Check it out as soon as possible because if you take advantage before Saturday you get all kinds of awesome extra free stuff - and who doesn’t love free stuff? (answer: not me. *I* love free stuff)



One last note, for our Ottawa and Toronto readers: Gini’s coming to town next week (Karen and I will both be there)! She’ll be inToronto (#3tyyz) on Monday, the 7th and she’s coming to Ottawa (#3tyow) on Tuesday, the 8th.

April #WWCBookClub Twitter Chat

Mark your calendars, because April 24th from 9:00-10:00pm, we’re going to have a chat about #SpinSucks and everything you’ve learned! So, be sure to go buy the book now: Amazon.ca PaperbackKindle (affiliate links).  

Spin may suck, but the book is really useful (April #WWCBookClub pick)

Normally when we announce our book for the month, neither Lara or I will have read it. This month is a bit different, because we both volunteered to be ambassadors for the launch (THIS WEEK!) of Gini Dietrich’s brand new book, Spin Sucks. Many of you may already know that Lara and I are big Gini fangirls - especially me. Remember this from last year’s Social Capital Conference when Gini came to speak?

Gini is a lovely person, but she’s also really, really smart. That’s why I have followed her blog for years now - and why I was even more excited when I heard she was going to be releasing a book. I’ve found Gini’s blog, also called Spin Sucks, to be full of wisdom and actionable content that any business can use to raise their profile using digital marketing. Sure, she’s in PR and perhaps you’re thinking that’s not relevant to you or your business. The truth is that if you’re using social media, you’re practicing public relations, whether you realize it or not. We just aren’t all doing it well; that doesn’t mean we don’t need to use the (good) tactics. 

So, here’s what I got out of Spin Sucks (affiliate Paperback, Kindle) and why I’m so excited that you get to read it this month for #WWCBookClub!

Gini tells it like it is - no sugar coating

As a business owner, I have such an appreciation for people who ask me hard questions and tell me what I truly need to hear. Diluting the truth will only hurt you in the long run. This book wouldn’t be as useful as it is if it didn’t clearly state the challenges that can be faced.

“You no longer have control of your brand - or perceived control. You can no longer worry just about your marketing messages. You have to be in tune with what the customers say your brand is and how they define it to their friends, family, and social networks.”

This graphic of another great truism is courtesy of Christina R. Green.“Your competitors know the exact recipe to your secret sauce, but no one does it as well as you do. It’s your secret sauce. It was created with your people, your thinking, your culture, your passion, and your vision.”

Lara recently asked a company that’s doing really interesting things with their social content if they would mind doing an interview with us so we could share some of their creative work with our audience. The response was quite surprising. They didn’t want their competitors to know their strategy. It’s one of the false beliefs about social media - that if you have a degree of transparency that you’ll tip off competitors and they’ll take away your business.

The truth is that your competitors are already trying to imitate you. They can figure out your strategy through observation - they don’t need to see your editorial calendar or other planning documents to know what it is. But they won’t succeed for the reason that Gini stated - they are not you and they never will be.

Amazon.ca PaperbackKindle (affiliate links).A plethora of practical application

Have you ever read a book that had a subtitle of “how to…” that really didn’t tell you how to do anything? Spin Sucks is not that book. I’m reading this book again with our book club this month for the sole purpose of identifying as many items that we need to work on as possible. I got quite a few the first time around, but I know there is so much more. This quote reaffirms one of things I tell my clients all the time:

“When creating content, the question “How often should I post new content?” almost always comes up. The answer depends on your goals, but from a search engine perspective once a week is sufficient. What you really want to be focused on is consistency, and quality versus quantity.” 

You’ll find lots of easy to implement SEO tips, and some that you may need some technical help with, but are worth doing to get the additional metrics. 

Above all, Gini will give you a roadmap to telling your story in a way that is compelling and valuable to your audience. We couldn’t have picked a better follow-up book to Youtility!

Buy your copy of Spin Sucks by April 5th and get some fantastic extras!

Meet Gini and hear how much Spin Sucks live!

One last note, for our Ottawa and Toronto readers: Gini’s coming to town next week! She’ll be in Toronto (#3tyyz) on Monday, the 7th and she’s coming to Ottawa (#3tyow) on Tuesday, the 8th.

April #WWCBookClub Twitter Chat

Mark your calendars, because April 24th from 9:00-10:00pm, we’re going to have a chat about #SpinSucks and everything you’ve learned! So, be sure to go buy the book now: Amazon.ca PaperbackKindle (affiliate links).


I received a galley copy of the book in exchange for doing a review as a Spin Sucks Ambassador (though I bought it anyway). Then I bought it again. So these opinions really are my own.